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Anchor banks on savings with new lights

March 2014

Rick Jackson

Operating a business in a building with local history can have its ups and downs. When it was built, in 1964, Anchor Bank on Broadway in Aberdeen was ahead of its time. They put in state-of-the-art T-12 fluorescent tubes that ran the length of the ceiling. They covered those lights with a new material called “plastic” that would last for decades.

By 2014 time had run out on those old lamps and covers — and it was easy to see; the covers had turned a sickly orange and the T-12 lamps, which are no longer in production, were slowly flickering and dying one by one, and could not be replaced. The swinging pendulum fixtures and the light were tiresome on customers‟ and employees‟ eyes. Energy bills were costly and Anchor Bank was simply not getting what they paid for. The whole scene was rather depressing.

Stacy Schwartz, facilities & REO manager, knew that something must be done. Enlisting the help of Jacob Henry, Energy Advisor Grays Harbor PUD, and Roy from Grays Harbor Star Electric, she set to work learning about energy efficient lighting, the Anchor building, and what was required to turn it from sad to satisfying. “When we started this process I didn’t know the difference between a T-12 and a T-5, or the difference in brands,” Schwartz said, “but after working with Jacob and Roy I now know so much about lighting systems and how to choose between them.”

She also learned that GH PUD, through the Bonneville Power Administration, offers rebates to perform lighting retrofits that will save money and make the building safer to use for employees and more attractive to customers — up to 70 percent.

So the work began. After two months of planning, the work went off without disrupting business and took less than a month. When it was all over Anchor Bank had replaced over 200 T-12 fixtures and more than 400 T-12 bulbs with approximately 40, two-by-two highly efficient LED fixtures. Light sensors, which reduce light output by 90 percent when extra light isn’t necessary, were installed to make use of the free natural light.

“The light in our workspace is not as intense,” says Robyne Baldwin, AVP and senior analyst at Anchor Bank, “and we don’t have to strain our eyes, which we really appreciate.”

Other controls were installed to create multiple zones for security and those who work after regular hours.

The best part of this process is the savings. Jerry Shaw, CEO at Anchor Bank said the total project cost was in the neighborhood of $29,000. But with rebates from the PUD they were able to bring the price to just under $20,000. That’s a $9,000 savings off the bat!

And the new lights will pay for them-selves in only 4.2 years. That means that every year they can see savings of $5,000 on lighting costs alone. Once that time elapses, they are keeping an extra $5,000 in their pocket every year.

What could your business do with those kinds of savings?

“It’s Economics 101,” Shaw said. “It just makes sense to perform a project that will reduce your overhead and in-crease your bottom line.”

Jill Berney, branch manager, said customers notice the difference too.

“’It’s significantly brighter!’ Our customers say, ‘The old [lights] were old and yellow.’ Our new lights look newer and brighter consistently across the whole building.”

Schwartz has this advice for other businesses considering this type of retrofit, “Check into your electrician. Make sure they will be willing to work with you on engineering the space. Do your research and be sure to contact the Energy Services Department at the PUD to you make the right choices.”

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